Most of the time, parents bemoan the amount of time kids spend staring at screens or looking at mobile apps. For two weeks this summer, that was a little different for 60+ kids who participated in one of TPF4Y's goIT Technology Camps!
goIT is an experiential, immersive technology education program developed by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to demystify computer science and help students gain the skills and confidence required to pursue STEM degrees—and become tomorrow’s technology leaders. Thanks to TCS, these week-long camps as well as the volunteer training, were provided for free by TPF4Y.
“We are living in an age where kids have easy access to technology, whether that be through mobile phones, laptops, tablets, or otherwise. Our kids are very capable of understanding how to use these technologies, but not how to leverage them in improving their communities,” said Dennis Ma, Technology Specialist at TCS. “It's important for students to learn about technology at a young age and to be exposed to jobs and career paths that they might not know exist. We need to prepare our students to take on [the jobs of the future].”
In June and July, TPF4Y led a coalition of partners, including Salesforce.Org, Tata Consultancy Services, DREAM Alive, Direct Employers, Propel Up, and more, to host two goIT technology camps. More than 60 central Indiana students were able to participate in the program, which was mentored by local software development professionals.
"Here at DirectEmployers Institute, it is our mission to bring learning to life for our students. Programs like goIT... support our mission and are a perfect fit for [our] students, as teaching them about robotics and technology enables them to uncover both the hard and soft skills they weren’t previously aware of, allowing them to realize their full potential," said Kristabell Gichina of Direct Employer.
As part of these camps, students explored different technology careers, learned how to code using MIT App Inventor, and then worked on small teams to design, build, and present their first mobile application. While designing their apps, students were encouraged to brainstorm around solutions to real problems in their lives. Finished prototypes included a mental health awareness and education app, a fresh food access map targeted at users living in food deserts, and more. Some students even had the opportunity to work on their projects inside the Salesforce offices downtown, assisted by local developers!
Overall, more than 25 volunteers came together to mentor students during the two camps.
"PropelUp is all about connecting people to the relevant resources they need to learn throughout their lifetime," says Nick Birch, Co-Founder of PropelUp. "So the goIT program was a great initiative for our team to participate in because it allowed us to help high schoolers practice some of the skills and mindsets professional 'problem solvers,' aka software developers and designers, utilize in the real world."
We were excited to partner with Tata Consultancy Services to create this opportunity for Indiana kids and look forward to hosting more goIT camps next summer!
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